#HOPE for Every Day – January 14, 2017

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Today’s blog post also serves as today’s dose of HOPE. It contains two Scripture passages that to me are related because our ultimate HOPE is in Jesus our LIGHT.

John 1:4-5, NASB:
In Him was life, and the life was the LIGHT of men. 
The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

…….Isaiah 51:3-5, NLT:
The Lord will comfort Israel again

and have pity on her ruins.
Her desert will blossom like Eden,
her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found there.
Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.

“Listen to me, my people.
Hear me, Israel,
for my law will be proclaimed,
and my justice will become a LIGHT to the nations.

My mercy and justice are coming soon.
My salvation is on the way.
My strong arm will bring justice to the nations.
All distant lands will look to me
and wait in HOPE for my powerful arm.

HOPE for Every Day

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2016 was the year of JOY for me, in which I shared daily posts about JOY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also have a few friends who asked me to share these posts via email. I truly enjoyed delving further into the Bible to find so many JOY posts. I love that whenever I write about something, God also teaches me through it.

I’ve been praying about what 2017’s theme will be and realized that JOY and HOPE go hand in hand. We live in such turbulent times. We finally get over one difficult situation and feel like we can be calm and peaceful again, when WHAM! Something else hits us. Our days start to feel like those mammoth tsunami waves that come crashing over us again and again.

The image above is an acronym for HOPE that came from my friend Pat Knight. Isn’t it the truth! I’ll be writing about HOPE here from time to time as well, and today I’m starting off  by sharing this quote:

“The Christmas message is that there is
HOPE for a ruined humanity–
HOPE of pardon,
HOPE of peace with God,
HOPE of glory–
because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor,
and was born in a stable so that
thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”

–J.I. Packer

Sunday Praise and Worship: Holy is the Lord

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Welcome to the year 2017! My hope and prayer for all of us is that we devote time in our busy lives learning more about our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through His Word. It’s like getting to know someone we enjoy spending time with. The more time we dedicate to discovering what makes them who they are, the closer we get to them.

Let’s all join with the prophet Isaiah in praising our Lord to the utmost as we sing “Holy is the Lordalong with Chris Tomlin.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,
high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings:
with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out,
and the house was filled with smoke.

—Isaiah 6:1-4

 

If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

 

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Happy 2017!

Thank you for sticking with me
in spite of all the blog breaks I needed to take this year.
I am so thankful for each of you!

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Now may the God of HOPE
fill you with all JOY and peace in believing,
that you may abound in HOPE
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 15:13

Buzzard, Bat, and Bumblebee

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Buzzard, Bat, and Bumblebee

(Contributed by Patricia Knight)

BUZZARD

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet that is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10-12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

BAT

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and no doubt painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

BUMBLEBEE

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

PEOPLE

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumble bee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is LOOK UP. Our weakness will give way to God’s strength as He grants us the vigor and strength of eagles.

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Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles,
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

 

-Author Unknown

A Feast of #Joy {Repost}

A FEAST OF JOY

by Patricia Knight

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“The cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). Joy is a perpetual, delicious smorgasbord of delight, an avalanche of dazzling power that encompasses the heart and soul. Joy is exhilarating, lavishing our lives with zeal. Joy captivates behavior, illuminating a smile or a deep sustained laugh. Body language conveys our emotions with a sparkle in our eyes, spontaneous hand-clapping, or a little jumping up-and-down.

The exchange of wedding vows amplifies hearts with love, flooding them with joy. In such instances, joy owns the gamut of our emotions, rendering us incapable of passively managing surges of jubilation. Because the occasion is so anticipated and celebrated, our hearts stagger under the load, making us feel as if our epicenter of joy will actually implode. The Psalmist expresses it well: “My heart leaps for joy” (Psalm 28:7).

God’s Word is replete with examples of people whose joy knew no bounds even under the most profoundly challenging circumstances. Miriam, sister of Moses, unabashedly rallied the Israeli women to sing, using tambourines and dance to exuberantly express joy and gratitude to the Lord following His miraculous delivery of the Israelites from generations of slavery in Egypt. The women converted their sorrow and mourning into enthusiastic singing to God for His spectacular victory over the pharaoh and the Egyptian army.

David, King of Israel, was ecstatic that the ark of the covenant, the representation of God’s throne on earth, was returned to  Israeli’s possession after many decades of absence following its seizure by the Philistines, who considered it no more than a lucky talisman. Rallying the people in a Jerusalem street parade, “David danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sounds of trumpets” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). It was a time of tremendous rejoicing of national impact. David’s dance was one of true worship, explicitly demonstrating extraordinary love for his Lord.

Job, an Old Testament character, was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Job’s dilemma still raises the quintessential question of why the righteous suffer. Job was steadfast regarding his innocence, though his friends accused him of liability for his suffering, determined that Job had caused his own demise by sinning. Job’s wife was so repulsed and discouraged with Job’s all-encompassing body sores, she advised Job to curse God and die. Having little hope for a cure and grieving the loss of his ten children and all of his possessions in one day, Job knew his joy could be deferred as he anticipated eternal life in heaven. Thus he admitted, “Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain” (Job 6:10). In light of heaven, Job could readily rejoice, knowing he had remained true to God throughout his long ordeal on earth.

Paul and Silas were captured by the Roman authorities, then stripped and beaten with a whip made of several strips of leather into which were embedded bone and lead at the end. Once severely flogged with the whip, they were thrown into an inner cell in the dark, dank, malodorous prison with their feet  fastened in stocks. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). Suddenly a violent earthquake shook the prison, opening the cell doors and loosening prisoners’ chains. The jailer, responsible for all prisoners, was startled from sleep and assumed the prisoners had escaped. Paul and Silas intervened before the jailer committed suicide with his sword,  and presented the Gospel to the jailer and his family. The jailer was then “filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family” (Acts 16:34). What unusual events were set in motion by a God who was honored and worshipped in spite of life-threatening conditions!  When we trust in God, joy reigns supreme, regardless of adverse situations!Jesus-ColorfulCross--AMP

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the epitome of joy.  He who was sinless during his entire life on earth, acknowledged His ultimate goal was to glorify His Father by offering His life as a perfect sacrifice, to redeem sinners of this world. When the soldiers burst into Jesus’ reverie of quiet prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane to take Him by force, Jesus succumbed to the Roman authorities, willingly complying with their orders. “Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and set down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3). Jesus obediently chose to die; otherwise no one would have had the power to kill Him.

The peace Jesus exhibited during his brutal trial and agonizing crucifixion ordeal is beyond our finite understanding. Though Jesus was exhausted and hurting on all levels, He rejoiced spiritually because He was accomplishing the goal for which He had given up His glory in heaven for a season to live on earth—that of becoming the perfect sacrificial Lamb to atone for sin. Jesus’ joy was powerful and zealous; the bounds of Christ’s joy were immeasurable.

If the man, Jesus, could prompt any amount of joy while confronting a terrifying, heinous crucifixion, it was only because He spent quality time with His heavenly Father in prayer, who strengthened Jesus’ commitment to His life’s goal. Utter joy is only possible for us because through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He guarantees our inheritance, providing hope for a life of joy on earth and a glorious eternity in heaven.

When Jesus appeared to His followers after his resurrection, He revealed to them the crucifixion wounds in His hands and His side. The disciples were so ecstatic to actually see Jesus alive, their joy was contagious, extending throughout the centuries to our current generation: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Indeed, we are commanded to rejoice. The Apostle Paul, himself frequently plagued with hostility and extreme suffering, taught: “‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’” (Philippians 4:4). Christ was the source and secret of Paul’s joy.

Phil4-4-PinkPurpleAbstractFlower-smaller--AMPOne of our life’s objectives is irrefutable: we are to be defined by worshipful joy in which God’s entire creation participates. “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” (Psalm 96; 11-12).  Since all of nature responds to His authority, God accepts joyful worship from everything He creates. On that premise, let us assess the amount of joyous adoration our Redeemer receives from us. “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:1-2).

Joy is not passive, but animated, manifesting praise and thanksgiving. Miriam and David unapologetically sang and danced before God Almighty. Like them, we eagerly worship our Savior, passionately reflecting His character with effervescent expressions of joy. It is God’s desire that we live triumphant lives, for which joy is one of the important components. Jesus said, “‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’” (John 10-10, KJV). Let our words and actions be saturated with bountiful joy!

 

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Hope is Alive

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Hope is Alive

By Patricia Knight 

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). 

We were watching the final segment of a law enforcement show on TV. The police found the perpetrator of a crime hiding at his mother’s house. As officers were escorting the felon into their squad car, one of them lingered to offer words of hope to his mother for the probability of a shortened jail sentence. She immediately retorted, “hope is useless” and turned away. There was no doubt about the growing bitterness and hate that was seething from deep within her being. At the conclusion of the show, overwhelming disillusionment spontaneously erupted from her heart as the door slammed shut behind her.

Hope is not about what will happen to us or around us. Hope resides in God and in His promises. King David admitted, “In His word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

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Hope is not an inaccurately placed belief. It is a personal desire that we expect to have fulfilled. It is a true yearning, an expectation that God will provide for us as He carries out His promises. Misplaced hope is of no value. Only when substantiated by God’s promises can hope have significant meaning in our lives. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

God is able to provide for every aspect of our future. All authority and power rest in Him, a guarantor of our hope. Just as God’s power worked in Christ’s life to accomplish His mission of redemption for all creation, He will also complete His sovereign purpose in each of our lives.

If we attempt to place our hope in ourselves or in anything finite, disappointment will ensue. Unless we place our confidence in God, our expectation for hope is dashed. No one is as worthy of our hope and our reliance on future good like God is. He is the author and embodiment of all hope. With confident expectation we diligently rely upon Him for anticipated results.

Godly hope renews our strength. Giving our hope to God, transferring it from our own inadequate efforts, liberates our meager inner resources. We are more fully equipped to do His work while we depend upon the Lord for all of our strength.

According to the felon’s mother, human hope is offensive. More accurately, true hope inspires and enlightens. God is the source of all hope. Our future rests in Him because   He has a plan for each of us. We can be assured that our life’s blueprint will be constructed just as He designed it for us.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

We are God’s workmanship. Let our hope reside in His design for us, for God doesn’t make mistakes—ever!

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